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17th Feb 2023

Study reveals the top 40 travel experiences in the world

Jack Peat

Travel experiences

How many of these have you ticked off? 

The top holiday ‘wish list’ experiences for 2023 are seeing the Northern Lights, travelling on the Orient Express, and exploring the Norwegian Fjords.

A study of 2,000 travellers found staying in an over-water bungalow in the Maldives, safari in Africa and driving Route 66 in America also made the top 40 list – with ‘off the beaten track’ experiences more desirable than tourist hotspots.

Visiting Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, experiencing the Midnight Sun and witnessing Iceland’s Geyser are also popular.

Martin Lister, head of itinerary planning and destination experience at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines which commissioned the research, said: “For many of us, holidays and travelling the world are one of life’s highlights.

“There are so many things that we want to see, do and explore, as shown in the wish lists shared with us and these play a huge part in us deciding where we go when booking a holiday.”

The study also found 65 per cent of adults want to see as much of the world as they possibly can, but just 15 per cent think they will manage to tick everything off their wish list due to cost, time or simply the amount they wish to see.

Each year, the average adult spends £2,111 (€2,371) on trips, with somewhere off the beaten track the most likely choice for 38 per cent, compared to just 17 per cent who would choose a popular tourist resort.

Good weather is the most important ingredient for a dream holiday for half of those polled, via OnePoll, followed by experiencing the culture, nature and history of a country (39 per cent) and going somewhere you’ve not been before (29 per cent).

Others look for authentic experiences (19 per cent), seeing local wildlife (18 per cent) and all-inclusive food and drink (17 per cent).

As a result, the weather is the biggest factor when deciding where to go for 52 per cent, while 42 per cent base their decision on the landmarks or sights to see.

The travel time (39 per cent), food (35 per cent) and culture (30 per cent) are also important considerations.

While 47 per cent dislike going to the same destinations time and time again – because they have so much they want to see.

Martin Lister, from Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, added: “A cruise can be a fantastic way to experience the world, arriving in a new port, spending a day exploring and waking up somewhere different where new opportunities await.”

Top 40 travel wish list experiences

1. Seeing the Northern Lights

2. Travelling on the Orient Express

3. Exploring the Norwegian Fjords

4. Staying in an over-water bungalow in the Maldives

5. Safari in Africa

6. Driving Route 66

7. Walking along the Great Wall of China

8. Seeing Mount Fuji in Japan

9. Whale watching

10. Seeing the Statue of Liberty, in New York

11. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon, in Iceland

12. Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco

13. Greek Island hopping

14. Visiting the tomb of Tutankhamun, in Egypt

15. Paying your respects at Auschwitz

16. Seeing Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii

17. Swimming with dolphins

18. Experiencing the Midnight Sun in the Arctic

19. Seeing the Geyser, in Iceland

20. Seeing Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland

21. Climbing Machu Picchu

22. Seeing the Sydney Opera House

23. Visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

24. Seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa

25. Visiting tulip gardens in Amsterdam

26. Floating in the Dead Sea

27. Seeing icebergs in Greenland

28. Going to a casino in Las Vegas

29. The carnival in Rio de Janeiro

30. Seeing Father Christmas in Lapland

31. Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef

32. Bathing elephants in Thailand

33. Seeing the puffins on Lundy Island

34. Seeing Ayers Rock/Uluru

35. Disneyworld in Florida

36. Visiting Easter Island

37. Seeing Christ the Redeemer in Brazil

38. Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

39. Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower

40. Seeing The Little Mermaid statue, in Copenhagen